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Memory Facts

  • When you remember something, your brain probably stores it by creating new nerve connections.
  • You have three types of memory – sensory, short-term and long-term.
  • Sensory memory is when you go on feeling a sensation for a moment after it stops.
  • Short-term memory is when the brain stores things for a few seconds, like a phone number you remember long enough to press the buttons.
  • Long-term memory is memory that can last for months or maybe even your whole life.
  • Your brain seems to have two ways of remembering things for the long term. Scientists call these two different ways declarative and non-declarative memories.
  • Non-declarative memories are skills you teach yourself by practicing, such as playing badminton or the flute. Repetition establishes nerve pathways.
  • Declarative memories are either episodic or semantic. Each may be sent by the hippocampus region of the brain to the correct place in the cortex, the brain’s wrinkly outer layer where you do most of your thinking.
  • Episodic memories are memories of striking events in your life, such as breaking your leg or your first day at a new school. You not only recall facts, but sensations too.
  • Semantic memories are facts such as dates. Scientists think these are stored in he left temporal lobe, at the front left-hand side of your brain.

Eurpoean Facts

  • About 730 million people live in Europe – about 12 percent of the world’s population.
  • Europe is one of the most densely populated continents averaging 70 people per square kilometer.
  • Most Europeans are descended from tribes who migrated into Europe more than 1500 years ago.
  • Most British people are descended from a mix of Celts, Angles, Saxons, Danes and others. Most French people are descended from Gauls and Franks. Most Eastern Europeans are Slavic.
  • North Europeans such as Scandinavians often have fair skin and blonde hair. South Europeans such as Italians often have olive skin and dark hair. Most European countries have a mix of people from all parts of the world, including former European colonies in Africa and Asia.
  • Most Europeans are Christians.
  • Most Europeans speak an Indo-European language, such as English, French or Russian.
  • Languages like French, Spanish and Italian are romance languages that come from Latin, language of the Romans.
  • Basque people in Spain speak a language related to no other language. Hungarians, Finns and Estonians speak a Uralic- Altaic language like those of Turkey and Mongolia.

Planting Chrysanthemum Seeds

Chrysanthemum is a genus which has contributed several species to the flower garden. Hardy chrysanthemums are among the popular and important garden flowers oust of the long, colorful show they put on in summer and fall. By choosing carefully the hundreds of varieties, the gardeners have chrysanthemum blooming nearly all year round. They can be grown in containers and watered carefully. The dwarfs can be dug with a generous earth when in bud or flower and moved to a dull corner of the garden. Few have such a variety of color and form, are excellent for cutting.

Hardy chrysanthemums require a great maintenance to keep them in top form. If you are a person who has little time to work with, you should avoid having large plants. While they can be propagated, cuttings and seed, most gardeners will divide. Indeed, (or at most, biennial) division in spring may help keep them flowering well. When looking at the clump, you will notice many pale usually with a tuft of small leaves spreading out among the darker roots base of the plant. Each one of these can grow into a large flowering plant by cut off as many as you will need and the rest of the old clump. If you started with larger divisions, use a sharp knife and cut pieces with several new crowns. Small divisions or stolons make the best and they should be set out in full sun in compost or rotted manure, which supplemented with bone meal or sludge are heavy feeders and will benefit from dressings of compost during the growing season. They must be watered carefully at all stages of growth: Drying of the soil in the heat of summer will stunt growth and diminish flowering.

When the young plants have grown six or eight inches tall, pinch out the tip of each stem to induce side-branching. Pinch again after each six inches of growth until mid-July, after which the plants should be left alone so they form flower buds. This early pinching induces heavier flowering and helps to keep tall varieties more compact. The cushion mums, which mature at 12 inches or less, are self-branching and should not be pinched. Some varieties, such as the football and spider mums which develop very large flowers, should be disbudded to make them look really spectacular. All secondary flower buds are removed, allowing each stem only one bud at the top which opens into a flower that can be five to eight inches across. Such varieties usually bloom too late to mature before frost and the flowers can’t take heavy rains, so they are best left to florists and greenhouses. While some-times advertised as being suitable for the open garden, they are really not.

Almost everyone knows of or owns chrysanthemum plants which seem to survive and bloom year after year with little or no winter protection. Even so, the term “hardy chrysanthemum” can be misleading because too often a newly bought variety which was planted in spring and bloomed in fall dies in the winter. This is often caused by poor drainage; while mums require abundant moisture during the growing season; their soil must never be soggy in winter. Try not to plant them in heavy clays if you wish to winter them in the garden. To prevent alternate freezing and thawing, cover the plants with airy mulch such as straw, evergreen boughs or an inverted basket in winter. To be sure that choice variety survives, dig them with earth balls after frost has killed the tops and store them under light mulch in a cold frame for the winter. In spring, plant several of the stolons and compost the old plants. Treated this way, any hardy mum will grow and bloom well each season.

There are several recognized flower types of hardy chrysanthemums of which the button, pompon, decorative, and single-flowered types are most suitable for the open border. There are many named varieties to choose from in each class, so check the catalogs for those which appeal to you most. The cushion or dwarf types might be the best for busy gardeners because they do not need pinching.

Facts About the Nervous System

  • The nervous system is your body’s control and communication system, made up of nerves and the brain. Nerves are your body’s hot-lines, carrying instant messages from the brain to every organ and muscle – and sending back an endless stream of data to the brain about what is going on both inside and outside your body.
  • The central nervous system (CNS) is the brain and spinal cord.
  • The peripheral nervous system (PNS) is made up of the nerves that branch out from the CNS to the rest of the body.
  • The main branches of the PNS are the 12 cranial nerves located in the head, and the 31 pairs of spinal nerves that branch off the spinal cord.
  • The nerves of the PNS are made up of long bundles of nerve fibres, which in turn are made from the long axons (tails) of nerve cells, bound together like the wires in a telephone cable.
  • In many places, sensory nerves (which carry sense – signals from the body to the brain) run alongside motor nerves (which carry the brain’s commands telling muscles to move).
  • Some PNS nerves are as wide as your thumb. The longest is the sciatic, which runs from the base of the spine to the knee.
  • The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is the body’s third nervous system. It controls all internal body processes such as breathing automatically, without you even being aware of it.
  • The ANS is split into two complementary (balancing) parts – the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. The sympathetic system speeds up body processes when they need to be more active, such as when the body is exercising or under stress. The parasympathetic slows them down.
  • Nerves are made of very specialized cells called neurons.
  • Neurons are shaped like a spider, with a nucleus at the centre, lots of branching threads called dendrites, and a winding tail called an axon which can be up to 1 m long. 336
  • Axon terminals on the axons of one neuron link to the dendrites or body cell of another neuron.
  • Neurons link up like beads on a string to make your nervous system.
  • Most cells are short-lived and are constantly being replaced by new ones. Neurons, however, arc very long-lived – some are never actually replaced after you are born.
  • Nerve signals travel as electrical pulses, each pulse lasting about 0.001 seconds.
  • When nerves are resting there are extra sodium ions with a positive electrical charge on the outside of the nerve cell, and extra negative ions inside.
  • When a nerve fires, gates open in the cell wall all along the nerve, and positive ions rush in to join the negative ions. This makes an electrical pulse.
  • Long-distance nerves are insulated (covered) by a sheath of a fatty substance, myelin, to keep the signal strong.
  • Myelinated (myelin-sheathed) nerves shoot signals through very fast – at more than 100 metres per second.
  • Ordinary nerves send signals at about 1 to 2 metres per second.
  • Motor nerves are connected to your muscles and tell your muscles to move.
  • Each major muscle has many motor nerve-endings that instruct it to contract (tighten).
  • Motor nerves cross over from one side of your body to the other at the top of your spinal cord. This means that signals from the right side of your brain go to the left side of your body, and vice versa.
  • Each motor nerve is paired to a proprioceptor on the muscle and its tendons (see co-ordination). This sends signals to the brain to say whether the muscle is tensed or relaxed.
  • If the strain on a tendon increases, the proprioceptor sends a signal to the brain. The brain adjusts the motor signals to the muscle so it contracts more or less.
  • Motor nerve signals originate in a part of the brain called the motor cortex (see the cortex).
  • All the motor nerves (apart from those in the head) branch out from the spinal cord.
  • The gut has no motor nerve-endings but plenty of sense endings, so you can feel it but cannot move it consciously.
  • The throat has motor nerve-endings but few sense endings, so you move it but not feel it.
  • Motor neuron disease attacks motor nerves within the central nervous system.

Menopause

A woman suddenly realizes that her normal monthly flow has not occurred. Or the thought may not occur to her until she has actually missed more than one. If she is in the 45 plus age range, then she has either reached, or is on the verge of a time in life commonly referred to as the menopause.

Menstruation most commonly ceases about the age of 50. This is also popularly known as the change of life or climacteric. Happily, many women breeze through this particular event with perfect equanimity. Periods stop abruptly; there is little if any outward indication that marked and dynamic changes are occurring inside the body. Nervous stability remains normal, and life seems little different from the usual pattern.

But this is not always the case. Many other women are not so fortunately endowed. For them, the time is fraught with problems, and every day new hazards seem to occur and escalate.

It seems that about 50 percent of women sustain symptoms that are sufficiently distressing to warrant medical attention.

The problem of the menopause is a fairly recent phenomenon. The hard, cold facts are that in past ages, many women failed to reach these mature years that the majority now do.

In Roman days, average life expectancy was about 23 years. By the 14th century, it had risen to around 33 years. Even at the turn of this century, it was only 48 years. So, in those days, the problems of the change-of-life woman seldom occurred.

The reason why symptoms occur is that the ovaries, the small pelvic organs that have been active since the age of 10 – 16 years, producing hormones and eggs on a very regular basis, finally reduce operations.

Gradually the hormonal production winds down, until it finally stops completely. Similarly, the release of the egg each 28 days ceases.

The consequences of this reduction in activity are twofold. First, the chances of pregnancy reduce drastically. If there is no egg present, the chance of its becoming fertilized is nil. Also, no egg means no menstrual period, and these cease. But more dramatically the enormous reduction in circulating hormones also means that the chemical responsible for the general wellbeing and normal operation of the pelvic areas phases out.

Almost inevitably this leads to the production of a new set of symptoms.

Menopause Symptoms

Usually the most apparent symptom is cessation of regular menstruation. This may occur abruptly, but more likely it is a gradual process. A period is missed intermittently, or the time between successive periods may be longer than normal, until finally they cease.

We would emphasize again that if bleeding at this time is heavier than normal, then investigation by the doctor is often essential. It may be due to simple hormonal withdrawal from the system. But in this special at-risk age group, uterine cancer must always be considered with bleeding irregularities, particularly heavy bleeding, or bleeding after total cessation of menstruation.

Another very common symptom is the appearance of hot flushes. These may be mild and transient, or they may be marked and distressing. Often they commence in the face. From here they may spread to the neck, shoulders and probably the chest area. The upper part of the body is usually affected most markedly. There may also be a suffocating sensation and the patient may fan herself and gasp for more air. In some, profuse sweating may occur.

The body appearance tends to alter. The breasts may become larger, due to an increase in their content of fat. But in some women the reverse takes place, and the breasts tend to become smaller, less attractive, pendulous and weary-looking. Many women tend to become plump, as fat is deposited on the usual places, usually where it is desired least of all—the midriff, buttocks, thighs and upper arms. This is often associated with a reduction in the desire for activity and exercise.

Flower Facts

  • Flowers have both male parts, called stamens, and female parts, called carpels. Seeds for new plants are made when pollen from the stamens meets the flower’s eggs inside the carpels.
  • The carpel contains the ovaries, where the flower’s eggs are made. It is typically a short thick stalk in the centre of the flower.
  • A flower may have just one carpel or several joined together. When together, they are called the pistil.
  • The stamens make pollen. Typically they are spindly stalks surrounding the carpels.
  • Pollen is made in the anthers which are found on top of the stamens.
  • Pollen is trapped on the top of the ovary by sticky stigma.
  • Pollen is carried down to the ovary from the stigma via a structure called the style. In the ovary it meets the eggs and fertilizes them to create seeds.
  • Before the flower opens, the bud is enclosed in a tight green ball called the calyx. This is made up of tiny green flaps called sepals.
  • The colorful part of the flower is made from groups of petals. The petals make up what is called the corolla. Together the calyx and the corolla comprise the whole flower head, which is known as the perianth. If petals and sepals are the same color, they are said to be tepals. 1. The fully formed flower is packed away inside a bud. Green flaps called sepals wrap tightly round it 3. The sepals open wider and the petals grow outwards and backwards to create the flower’s beautiful corolla 4 At the right time of year, buds begin to open to reveal flowers’ blooms so that the reproductive process can begin. Some flowers last just a day or so. Others stay blooming for months on end before the eggs are fertilized, and grow into seeds. 2. When the weather is warm enough, the bud begins to open. The sepals curl back to reveal the colorful petals How plants live ,
  • A ‘perfect’ flower is one which has both stamens and carpels; many have one missing.
  • Flowers like this orchid have developed vivid colors to attract pollinating insects. 4. The flower opens fully to reveal its bright array of pollen sacs or
  • Cut flowers are flowers that are sold by the bunch in florists.
  • The cut flower trade began in the Netherlands with tulips in the 1600s.
  • In 1995 60% of the world’s cut flowers were grown in Holland.
  • Latin American countries like Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Costa Rica are now major flower-growers. So too are African countries like Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania.
  • In China the growing popularity of St Valentine’s day has meant huge areas of China are now planted with flowers.
  • After cutting, flowers are sent by air to places like Europe and North America. During the journey they are chilled so they will arrive fresh.
  • Most of the world’s cut flowers are sold through the huge flower market in Rotterdam in Holland.
  • Garden flowers, when cut and put into water, are ideal for adding a touch of color and freshness to people’s homes.
  • By encouraging certain flowers, flower-growers have made cut flowers last longer in the vase they have lost the —but rich scents they once had. Scientists are now trying to reintroduce scent genes to flowers.
  • A corsage is a small bouquet women began to wear on their bodices in the 18th century.
  • A nosegay was a small hot tiet Victorian ladies carried in their hinds. If a man gave a lady a red tulip it meant ht . loved her. If she gave him hack a sprig of ilogwood it mean she didn’t care. Various ;link ‘lowers meant ‘no.
  • Dandelions and daisies are both members of a vast family called Asteraceae.
  • All Asteraceae have flower heads with many small flowers called florets, which are surrounded by leaf-like structures called bracts.
  • There are over 20,000 different Asteraceae.
  • Garden Asteraceae include asters, dahlias and chrysanthemums.
  • Wild Asteraceae include burdock, butterbur and ragweed, thistles and sagebrush.
  • When dandelions mature, they form feathery seeds which are blown away like parachutes by the wind. Daisies look like a single bloom, but they actually consist of many small flowers. Those around the edge each have a single petal.
  • Lettuces, artichokes and sunflowers are all varieties of Asteraceae.
  • The thistle is the national emblem of Scotland.
  • Dandelions are bright yellow flowers that came originally from Europe, and were taken to America by colonists. Unusually, their ovaries form fertile seeds without having to be pollinated, so they spread rapidly.
  • The name dandelion comes from the French dent de lion, which means lion’s tooth, because its leaves have edges that look like sharp teeth.
  • The daisy gets its name from the Old English words ‘clay’s eye’ – because like an eye its blooms open in the day and close at night.
  • In meadow grass flowers like buttercups, daisies, clover, forget-me-nots and ragged robin often grow.
  • In deciduous woodlands flowers like bluebells, primroses, daffodils and celandines grow.
  • By the sea among the rocks, sea tampion and pink thrift may bloom, while up on the cliffs, there may be birdsfoot trefoil among the grasses.
  • As humans take over larger and larger areas of the world, and as farmers use more and more weedkillers on the land, many wildflowers are becoming very rare. Some are so rare that they are protected by law.
  • The lady’s slipper orchid grows only in one secret place in Yorkshire, in the north of England.
  • I he rare lady’s slipper orchid is also known as the moccasin flower. Its enlarged labellum (hp) makes it resemble a slipper or moccasin.
  • All flowers were originally wild. Garden flowers have been bred over the centuries to be very different from their wild originals.
  • Wildflowers are flowers that have developed naturally.
  • Most wildflowers are smaller and more delicate than their garden cousins.
  • Each kind of place has its own special range of wildflowers, although many wildflowers have now been spread to different places by humans.
  • Heathlands may have purple blooms of heathers, prickly yellow gorse and scarlet pimpernel.

Red Shift Facts

  • When distant galaxies are moving away from us, the very, very, fast light waves they give off are stretched out behind them — since each bit of the light wave is being sent from a little bit further away.
  • When the light waves from distant galaxies are stretched out in this way, they look redder. This is called red shift.
  • Red shift was first described by Czech mathematician Christian Doppler in 1842.
  • Edwin Hubble showed that a galaxy’s red shift is proportional to its distance. So the further away a galaxy is, the greater its red shift — and the faster it must be zooming away from us. This is Hubble’s Law.
  • The increase of red shift with distance proved that the Universe is growing bigger.
  • Only nearby galaxies show no red shift at all.
  • The record red shift is 4.25, from the quasar 8C 1435 + 63. It is 96% of the speed of light.
  • Red shift can be caused by the expansion of the Universe, gravity or the effect of relativity (see Einstein).
  • Black holes may create large red shifts.
  • Red Shift occurs as distant galaxies red shifts so big that they must be moving move away from us. The further away a away from us at speeds approaching the speed of light!

Masturbation

Masturbation means the production of an orgasm (climax) by the manual or mechanical friction of the genitals. This, I might add, has been going on for a long time, for it comes from the Latin word masturbatie, which has the same meaning as it does today. Now small children have no knowledge of sex, and until after puberty at least, orgasming, in the true sense, is simply not possible, for sexual development is an essential prerequisite.

Children, from babyhood on, are learning. This they do via all the senses, and this includes touch. With their two hands and ten fingers they will avidly explore every part of their body. This is part of juvenile education. It’s all a matter of learning. So crevices, cracks, knobs and appendages all come within this orbit.

In babyhood and childhood, definitely no. They have never heard of sex and so know nothing about the sex act or sexual relationships that are such an important part of life as one develops and matures. What about sensations?

They may gain some gratification from “playing with himself/herself’ (as some parents explain in horror). But they may also gain delight from tickling their feet, hands or stomach. This is all, and any gratification is within any normal physical and mental bounds.

I believe they should ignore it. Some are bowed down by guilt feelings, probably from a strong religious training, or the thought that anything in this area can only be wicked, sinful, the work of the devil and so on. This of course is incorrect. Ignore the whole activity and soon the child will do likewise, and it will be of little consequence. Do not blow it up out of proportion, for it is not important at this stage of life.

Masturbation Treatment

The less attention that is given to this passing juvenile habit, the better. Do not remonstrate, scold or abuse. Rather, ignore it. Probably try to get the child interested in other entertainments. These may be varied and there is no shortage of material to which to turn.

As children become older they will naturally ask questions. Answer them with frank, straightforward, honest answers. If you do not know, tell them so, but start to educate yourself and find the answers, for they will keep on coming, and they will gradually become more and more complex, believe me. I have been doctoring for many years (and have been a father for many years also, and know the type and range of queries that are fired at parents).

Do not appear embarrassed. If you are not, they will not develop this attitude either. Do not adopt an attitude of guilt or shame. This is anathema and can immediately put up unwanted barriers.

Planting Blueberries

This popular insect-resistant shrub, growing six to ten feet high, bears plenty of fine-tasting fruit and adds beauty to the home when used as an informal hedge.

Blueberry Soil

The cultivated blueberry is still close enough to its wild ancestors to be appreciative only of natural, organic fertilizers. They like humus and soft, woodsy soil so much that it is almost a question of growing them organically or not growing them at all.

In nature the blueberry plant displays its blossoms and tasty fruit in the seldom-frequented spots of forest and wilderness whose soil is covered with a rich blanket of decaying vegetation. It grows wild among the redwoods of California, on forest hillsides in New England and on the broad crests of the Appalachian ridges.

Soil should be of a pH from 5 to 5.6, which is quite acid. A liberal amount of peaty material is needed; a mulch of peat is fine. If additional acid is needed, use peat or compost made without lime to give the right acidity. The peat should be dug into the earth, and well intermixed with it.

Despite the need for moisture, blueberries require good drainage. Water should not stand on the surface. If you need to keep the water condition right, dig an open ditch or install tile drains. Cool, moist, acid conditions are needed in the soil for the best growth of roots to support the plants.

Blueberry Planting

Upon arrival of plants (rooted shrubs) for setting out, it is urgent that the roots be protected from drying. Cover them at once with soil or burlap—if unpacked. Do not expose the roots to the drying effects of sun or wind. Put the plants in a cool moist cellar or in the shade till set. Dig the hole large enough to receive roots without bending or cramping them. When the subsoil is very hard, break it up at the bottom of the hole, using a pick or crowbar if necessary. Set the plants slightly deeper than they stood in the nursery and spread all roots out naturally. Place good surface soil next to the roots and work it in with the hands. When the hole is half-filled, tamp the soil firmly. Fill the hole and tamp the soil harder. Leave loose soil on top or cover with mulch. Leave a saucer like depression at the top to catch water. If manure is used, it should be well rotted and worked into and mixed with the soil. Manure can be used on top for mulch. Never put fresh or un-rotted manure next to the roots. It may heat or dry out and hurt the roots.

Careful planting is important and should never be hastily done. In all cases, pack the soil firmly about the roots and use moist soil for the purpose. Young plants, usually eight to 15 inches high, should be planted in early spring or late fall. Space them about five feet apart, with the rows about seven feet apart. Ten- to 15-year-old bushes usually yield about 14 quarts of berries.

Blueberries are not self-pollinating, so more than one variety should be planted. Since each of the common varieties has slightly different characteristics, it is good home-garden practice to plant a selection of different types. They ripen at different times and vary slightly in flavor.

For good pollination, encourage and protect bees wherever possible.

Preferred varieties in the two chief areas of high bush blueberry production are as follows:

Michigan-Early: Earliblue; Midseason: Blue Ray, Bluecrop; Late: Jersey, Coville.

New Jersey-Early: Earliblue, Blue Ray, Ivanhoe; Midseason: Bluecrop, Berkeley; Late: Herbert, Darrow.

Some of the older varieties like Concord, Rancocas, Weymouth, and Stanley do well in the northern and middle Atlantic states, because they usually produce smaller berries than the varieties listed above.

Blueberry Pruning

In the wild, blueberry plans are pruned by the “burning over” process on the managed areas; the old stems are burnt out. But in the garden the pruning shears need to be used after four or five years from set. Varieties vary greatly in growing habits. Some of the more open and flat-topped ones like Cabot, Herbert and Pioneer need very little pruning. The upright and close-growing varieties (Weymouth, Rubel and Rancocas), on the other hand, need considerable opening to prevent them from becoming too thick and bushy. A little attention to the natural degree of openness will suggest what thinning-out to do—if any is needed. It is well to compare and contrast different modes of growth before starting the pruning.

There are two types of growth to cut out in pruning—the very slender stems which may not bear much, and the oldest and largest that have borne several years and may not bear much more, except at the tips. It is well to keep the clumps fairly open to avoid crowding and shading. More than one foot asunder for all stems is too open; less than four inches is too close.

Blueberry Planting Problems

It is important to suppress all weeds. This is best done by the liberal application of acid mulches each year—peat and oak leaves are better than sawdust or pine needles. Compost is helpful. Woodland soil is often suitable for the plants.

Insect damage to blueberries is confined primarily to the blueberry fruit fly, whose eggs hatch into maggots inside the ripening berry, and the cherry fruit worm, a small red worm whose damage is usually confined to large commercial plantings. Best control of the fruit is rotenone dust, 25 pounds to the acre. It is applied five times between June and the end of harvest. Shallow cultivation also helps by imposing larvae to predator ants and birds.

The most troublesome blueberry disease is mummy berry, which causes berries to rot and fall off. Control by collecting old mummies off the ground or turning them under when cultivating.

Lead Poisoning in Children

More children will inevitably suffer from the ill effects of this, as more lead comes into the atmosphere. At one time, lead poisoning was almost solely blamed on lead-based paints. Children often picked off peeling paint and ate it, so enabling it to accumulate in the system and cause adverse effects.

But in more recent times with the enormous sale of leaded petrol (which is said to increase the efficiency of motor cars), more lead is being pumped into the air. However, this should now gradually lessen in Australia with the reintroduction of unleaded petrol.

The concept is that increased lead in the atmosphere inevitably increases the amount children inhale. Young children are very sensitive to inhaling it. But it may also come from other sources of pollution, and children living near lead mines are said to often have higher than normal levels.

Lead Poisoning Symptoms

They may come on insidiously. Irritability, nervousness, being jumpy, ill at ease, spiteful, bad tempered, feeling weak and lacking normal energy and vitality, are some of the symptoms reported. There may be nausea, vomiting, being off one’s normal food, constipation, headaches, cramps, pains in the abdomen. Occasionally teeth will show a telltale “lead line.” If it worsens, there may be fits. It is possible to undergo special tests to measure the lead levels in the system.

Quite often the child will be referred to a major centre geared to diagnose cases with vague symptoms for which there may not, on the surface, be obvious causes. Diagnosis may be difficult. Investigation and therapy is best carried out at a major centre. After this, endeavoring to shield the child against further lead exposure is the idea. But this may be more of a wish than a possibility.

Children may hold the breath, probably after an emotional upset, or if frightened or angry. They simply stop breathing, and may even go blue in the face or may have a convulsion or two and go unconscious. Various levels occur.

Herein may lay the crux of the problem. The child may know that the episode will guarantee the attention desired – maybe lots of TLC that had been missing! Infants are often smarter than parents give them credit for!

Lead Poisoning Treatment

Ignoring the whole situation is the best idea. The more fuss and attention given to such children, the more they are likely to continue playing on their mother’s goodwill, and will continue with the attention-getting routine. By totally ignoring it, the exercise then has a negative effect and they will soon become tired of this little game. Parents should not blame themselves for it. No harm will befall the infant, who will not suffer any disability and certainly will not become mentally retarded as a result. The parents may have been breath holders themselves, so the baby is merely repeating history.

A child-specialist colleague suggested to me that placing icy-cold flannels over the child’s head and face (with the nose sticking out) invariably caused the child to suddenly inspire, and the procedure was at an end. It sounded a good idea to me. Why not give it a try, if this happens to be your problem?